Hanukkah

Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights and is the Jewish word for 'dedication. The holiday of Hanukkah lasts for eight days and starts on the 25th of Kislev. The Jewish calendar is lunar (it uses the moon for its dates), because of this Kislev can happen from late November to late December. During Hanukkah, on each of the eight nights, a candle is lit in a special menorah called a 'hanukkiah'. The ninth candle called the 'shammash' or servant candle is used to light the other candles. The shammash is often in the center of the other candles and has a higher position. On the first night one candle is lit, on the second night, two are lit until all are lit on the eighth and final night of the festival. Traditionally they are lit from left to right. A special blessing, thanking God, is said before or after lighting the candles and a special Jewish hymn is often sung. The menorah is put in the front window of houses so people passing can see the lights and remember the story of Hanukkah. Most Jewish families and households have a menorah to celebrate Hanukkah. Other Hanukkah festivities include playing dreidel and eating oil-based foods such as doughnuts and latkes.